Using Root Cause Analysis to Reduce Hospital Readmissions Jennifer Wieckowski, MSG Health Services Advisory Group of California, Inc. (HSAG-California)
Purpose of the Root Cause Analysis (RCA) • Identify the “root” cause of readmissions at your hospital. • Identify patterns of readmissions specific to your community and its providers. • Use RCA results to guide targeting criteria and intervention selection.
Community Based Care Transitions Program (CCTP) Application • Describe the results of the RCA that was performed. • Describe how the results informed the selection of the proposed intervention and target population. • Describe your implementation strategy.
National Coordinating Center http://www.cfmc.org/caretransitions/toolkit.htm
Common Application Errors • The community-specific RCA is missing. • The community-specific RCA is present, but not explicitly tied to the methodology for targeting high-risk beneficiaries and the proposed interventions.
Variety of RCA Tools • Patient/family interviews • Care coordinator interviews • Medical record reviews • Process mapping • Cause-and-effect diagrams • “5 Whys”
Patient/Family Interviews • Semi-structured telephone or face-to-face interviews with patients who were readmitted • Helps to identify opportunities for improvement from the patient’s perspective
Care Coordinator Interviews • Conduct individual and/or group interviews with care coordinators. • Identify patterns, trends, and opportunities for improvement from the staff member’s perspective. • Formulate groups across settings or within provider teams, organizations, or specialties.
Medical Record Reviews • Review randomly sampled hospital discharges and 30-day readmissions. • Common finding: • Patient education is completed and documented, but patients need more in-depth understanding to be compliant.
Process Mapping • Observe discharge and admission processes directly, interview process owners, and map the processes. • Elicit staff perceptions about where communication issues and gaps may occur. • Clarify specific roles and contributions of those involved in the process.
Cause-and-Effect Diagram(Fishbone Diagram) • Visually illustrates potential causes of high readmissions
“5 Whys” • This is simple and easy to complete without statistical analysis. • Start with asking why readmissions occur at your hospital and record the answer. If the answer provided does not directly identify the root cause of your readmissions problem, ask why again and record the answer. • Continue this process until your team agrees the problem’s root cause has been identified.
Results from Previous Care Transition RCAs “Rocket science is helpful, but not required.”
Results from Previous Care Transition RCAs (cont’d) • RCAs revealed remarkably consistent results. • Patients experienced readmissions because of: • Unmanaged worsening of their conditions. • The use of suboptimal medication regimens. • Returning to emergency departments instead of accessing a different type of medical service.
Three Basic System Gaps • Lack of engagement or activation of patients and families • Lack of standard processes among providers for transferring patients • No medical responsibility • Ineffective or unreliable sharing of relevant clinical information
RCA Conclusion • Many of the evidence-based interventions to improve transitional care are directed at one or more of these gaps, but require cooperative activity by more than one provider. • All communities must build cross-setting or multi-provider relationships to deploy, measure, and revise implementation strategies. • Community building is the necessary groundwork to enable improvement.
For More Information Mary Fermazin, MD, MPA Chief Medical Officer, HSAG-California Jennifer Wieckowski, MSG Program Director, Care Transitions, HSAG-California 700 North Brand Blvd., Suite 370 Glendale, CA 91203 818-265-4650
We convene providers, practitioners, and patients to build and share knowledge, spread best practices, and achieve rapid, wide-scale improvements in patient care; increases in population health; and decreases in health care costs for all Americans. www.hsag.com This material was prepared by Health Services Advisory Group of California, Inc., the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for California, under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The contents presented do not necessarily reflect CMS policy. Publication No. CA-10SOW-8.0-101311-01